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Appendix – Chap. III. – Useful Family Receipts, pp.438-445.

[Useful Family Receipts Contents]

Polishing Wax for Furniture.

Melt eight ounces of bees wax in a glazed pipkin, pound two ounces colophony, and stir it in; when well incorporated, warm and add by degrees four ounces spirit of turpentine, mix it well together and pour it into small pots, such as are used for pomatum. When you use it, spread a little of it on a piece of woollen cloth, and rub well all over the wood, continue the rubbing from time to time, and in a few days it will appear as if varnished. 

For Tables. – Put four gills of water in a pipkin over the fire, scrape in a little white soap, when the soap is dissolved, add three ounces bees wax scraped thin, when it is melted and well incorporated it is ready to use; make a little of it warm, dip into it a small piece of flannel, rub the furniture well, a short time after apply the brush, and polish it with dry flannel. 

Stains are removed with spirits of salt, or oil of vitriol, diluted with a little water; immediately when the stain disappears, wash it over with a rag dipped in water, then with a little linseed oil. 

The appearance of old wainscot is much improved if it be first washed with warm beer or water, made a little acid with vinegar; rub it well with beer in which a piece of bees wax has been boiled, and a little raw sugar; when dry rub with flannel till it obtains a gloss. 

To Clean Alabaster or Marble.

Pound pumice stone to an impalpable powder, mix it with vinegar, let it remain two or three hours, dip a sponge into it and rub the marble well; wash it off with soft linen rags dipped in water, and dry it well. 

Chimney Pieces, &c.

Make a paste with pipe-clay, a bullock’s gall, one gill each of soap lees and turpentine; lay it over the marble and let it remain a few days, take it off and repeat this again and again till the marble is clean. Muriatic acid has the same effect, but it destroys the fine polish. 

Ink Stains.

Are removed by using a mixture of strong soap lees and unslacked lime, finely pounded; lay it on with a brush pretty thick, and let it remain a considerable time; make a strong lye with soft soap and boiling water, then, with a brush dipped in it, rub and wash clean off all the compound, and polish it with leather. 

Iron Stains

Are removed with a mixture of lemon juice and spirits of vitriol equal parts, with which wet the spots and rub well with soft linen rags. 

Black Lead for cleaning Cast Metal.

Mix the black lead with strong spirits, lay it thinly upon the grate, and, with another brush dipped in the dry powder, continue to brush till of a beautiful gloss. 

To Keep Iron from Rust.

Fry an eel in an iron pan, and when thoroughly browned express the oil, which put into a phial and place in the sun to clear. Iron, when anointed with this will not rust, although kept in a damp place. 


Take some fresh hogs lard, dissolve a little camphor and mix with the lard, and as much black lead as will give the whole a colour; with a rag dipped in this mixture rub over the iron. This covering is easily removed time with hot water, the metal is then polished with oil, rotten-stone, and a piece of flannel. 

To remove the Blackness from Polished Stoves and Bars.

Make a strong jelly with soft soap and water boiled together; when cold, take a spoonful and stir in emery till pretty thick, put a little on a piece of cloth, and, by rubbing, remove the blackness, then polish it with glass paper, then leather and tripoly. 

A Strong Paste for Paper.

Make half a pound flour smooth with strong beer, add half an ounce pounded rosin, and boil it half an hour; when cold, beat it smooth with a flat stick. 

Blacking for Boots and Shoes.

Take four ounces ivory black, three ounces raw sugar or treacle, a table spoonful of sweet oil, half a tea spoonful spirit of vitriol, and a table spoonful of copperas, mix all together with a pint (mutchkin) good vinegar. 

Oil that has lost its Flavour,

May be recovered by the following process: Burn a quantity of roch alum and beat it to powder; put it in boiling water, and when it is dissolved pour in the oil and work it well with a whisk a considerable time; let it settle two days, when the oil will be embodied on the surface, which skim off, and it will be found to have in a great degree recovered its flavour. 

Rancid Butter

May also in part be recovered, if when melting it, you toast a slice of bread very brown, or even black, and put amongst it, as it draws all the bad taste to itself. 

To Clean and Season Feathers.

To render new feathers sweet and clean in a short time, must be an acquisition to those who deal largely in them, and also of service to families. According to the quantity to be sweetened take to each gallon of water one pound quick lime, stir it well till all the lime is dissolved, then let it settle, and pour off the clear water for use; put the feathers in a deep tub and pour on the lime water to cover them, with a staff, stir them well and let them lie four days, stirring them daily, then lift them out on sieves to drain; wash them well in pure water, drain them again, put them into nets with very small meshes, hanging them along the roof of an airy room, turn and shake them frequently, and they will drop out daily as they become dry; they are collected from time to time, put into cases, and after being well beaten they are ready for use. 

The Chinese Method of rendering Cloth Water-proof.

Melt one ounce of white wax in a glazed pipkin, stir in a quart (choppin) of spirits of turpentine, and mix it well, and when cold it is ready for use; dip the cloth into this liquid and hang it up to drain till thoroughly dry. Muslins, as well as strong cloths, are rendered impenetrable to the heaviest rains, and that without filling up the pores of the cloth, injuring its texture, or damaging in the least the most brilliant colours. 

Permanent Ink for Writing on Linen.

Take silver caustic, dissolve it in twice its weight of water by working it in a glass mortar, then pour it in a phial. In another phial dissolve one dram salt of tartar in an ounce and a half of water, into which liquid the linen is first saturated, or dipped, and when dry wrote upon with a new pen dipped in the liquid of the first phial. 

A Liquid to Write on Linen which resists the action of Soap or Lye.

Make a solution of silver, dissolve a little gum in distilled water, with which dilute the silver solution; then have ready a pretty strong solution of isinglass and water, into which dip the part to be wrote on; when dry write upon it, it soon becomes a very black purple. 

Cement for China.

Burn oyster shells and then beat the soft part and put it through a lawn sieve; or quick lime, wet a little with the white of an egg, and join the pieces together; when hardened, scrape or wash off what adheres on each side of the china. 

To Dye Linen Black.

After cleaning a quantity of iron filings boil them in water with bark of the elder-tree, into which dip the linen repeatedly till it is a clear black. 

To Dye Woollen Stuffs Black.

For any ordinary use, boil the stuff first in a strong lye made by boiling walnut-tree branches and shells, or boil it along with them till of a good brown, then draw it through the above black dye, in which may also be boiled some Indian wood. 

A Good Black.

First Boiling. – A pound gall nuts, a pound of elder tree bark, twelve ounces yellow chips; boil them three hours in a sufficient quantity of water, then put in the stuff, turning it constantly about, and when you perceive it black enough take it out and cool it. 

Second Boiling. – Make a lye with one ounce salamoniac, into which boil the stuff an hour, turning it all the time and again cooling it. 

Third Boiling. – Take twelve ounces vitriol, two ounces shoemack, with a proper quantity of water, into which boil the stuff an hour; then cool and rinse it. 

To Dye Woollen and Cotton Stuffs Red.

The stuffs are previously boiled in a lye made with two parts alum and one part tartar. The quantity of twenty yards will require three pounds Roman alum, a pound and a half tartar, and four ounces chalk; put them into a pot or copper with water, put in the stuff and boil it three hours (or five ounces alum and one ounce tartar, to each pound of woollen). To the above quantity of cloth take six pounds madder and a glass of vinegar (or half the weight of the stuff) and when the lye is of the heat that you can hold your hand amongst it put it in and mix it well, then put in the stuff, let it remain an hour turning all the time, or till you get it a fine red. 

Method of Distinguishing the Real from the False Turkey Dye.

The true Turkey red is a colour the dying of which few, if any, in this country have acquired the knowledge of; to ascertain which is the real Turkey dye, take a thread or two of each and immerse them in diluted aqua fortis, or nitrous acid; the true Turkey will remain an hour without the least change, while the imitation dye will grow white in less than fifteen minutes. 

Crimson Colour.

To each pound of stuff take two ounces alum, two ounces tartar, two ounces aqua fortis, in which is dissolved half an ounce pewter, four ounces madder, four ounces logwood; put them all together with a quantity of water to boil, put in the stuff, boil it a considerable time, take it out, and when cool rinse it in clean water; then boil it again, adding to each pound of stuff four ounces logwood. 

Yellow Colour.

Make a bath with two and a half pounds weld, for each pound cotton,, incorporate one dram verdegrease with a little of the bath, then stir it in; in this the cotton is turned and wrought until it has acquired an uniform colour; it is then taken out, and a lye made with soda poured in and stirred; the cotton is again put into the bath, and kept for fifteen minutes, then taken out, wrung and carefully dried. A lemon colour is obtained by the same process, using a pound of weld to each pound of stuff, and diminishing the proportion of verdegrease accordingly; or omitting it and boiling the stuff in alum water. Or boil the stuff in a bath of alum and tartar, then boil it with fastic wood till the colour is obtained. 


Makes also a good yellow, and answers best with silk; it is rubbed down and boiled with an equal quantity of alkali; scour the stuff well first in soap lye, and then immerse it in the prepared bath; the degree of heat is betwixt the boiling point and tepid; when the proper shade is obtained, wash it well in pure running water and beetle them. Turmeric makes also a beautiful yellow, but of no durability. 


Take a pound indigo, three pounds quick lime, and a pound and a half orpiment; the indigo is first ground in a mortar with water, by means of two iron bullets rolled about, then put into a vat and diluted to the proper degree with water, the lime is then added, well stirred, and covered up to rest a few hours; eight ounces English vitriol pounded is then stirred in, it is again covered up; a few hours after, the orpiment, in powder, is thrown in, stirred and again left to rest a few hours; it is afterwards stirred and left to settle until it cleans. The scum is then gently put aside and the silk or other stuffs, dyed in small quantities at a time, first dipping them in warm water; they are then washed in pure water and dried. 

For Wool. – Take a pound indigo, four pounds potash, one pound lime, a pound or a pound and a half of orpiment, and proceed as above; keep the vat in a moderate degree of heat. 

A mixture of red and blue produces violet, purple, and all the intermediate shades; blue and yellow, green; blue combined with red and yellow produces olive. 


The cloth is first washed clean and dried, then boiled in a bath made with two gallons rain or spring water and four ounces alum, taken out and dried; while drying put into the bath a few handfuls bran and boil it till it has imparted a slipperiness to the water; then strain it, put it on again with two drams cochineal and four ounces argal pounded, mixing it by degrees with the liquor; then put in the cotton cloth and boil it till it has attained the desired shade, stirring and turning it about all the time; rinse it first in chamber lye, then in plenty of pure water, then dip it in thin starch water and dry it quickly; in hanging it up to dry take care that it does not double, then put it through a callander or mangle. 

Liquid for cleaning Boot Tops.

Dilute a gill vitriolic acid with two gills of water, in a pickle, then mix in half an ounce essential salt of lemons; when the effervescence is over and it is quite cool, add two gills skimmed milk and shake it frequently for five days. 

To use it.

Clean all the grease, &c. from the surface of the leather with a brush and water, then, with a little Bath brick powder, or fine white sand, and a little of the liquor, brush and clean it well with a spunge and pure water, wash it clean, let it dry gradually and it will appear as new; if it is required to have a brown colour, brush it before it is quite dry with a hard brush. 


Mix with two ounces distilled water a dram oxy-muriate of potash; when dissolved, add two ounces muriatic acid and shake them together. In another phial mix three ounces spirits of wine, and half an ounce essential oil of lemons, when well incorporated pour it into the other phial; after they are well incorporated stop up the phial for use. 

To use it.

Dip a small piece of clean spunge into the mixture and go over the leather, dry it gently and brush it well. 

To Dye Gloves a York Tan.

Infuse saffron in boiling water, when it is highly tinged go over the gloves with a spunge or brush dipped in the extract. 

To Dye Gloves Purple.

Boil eight ounces logwood and three ounces pounded alum in two quarts of water till the half is wasted; strain it when cold, and go over the gloves as above, and when dry, if they are not a proper colour repeat the wetting. To glaze them, when dry rub off all the wood clean, and go over the surface with the white of an egg. 

A Sweet Pot.

Take of benjamin, storax, myrrh, sweet orrice, zeddary, nutmeg, grains of paradise, cinnamon and cloves, half an ounce each; pound them in a mortar, throw a handful of bay salt mixed with a little of the spiceries in the bottom of a large jar; then a layer of all kinds of sweet smelling flower leaves, with aromatic plants and herbs cut small; over every layer of flowers or herbs, put a handful of bay salt and the rest of the spiceries; it requires no more spice to be added for the whole jar, but fresh salt must be put betwixt each layer of leaves, as the flowers must be gathered at different times through the year when in full blossom, picked clean from stalks and leaves, such as violets, lily of the valley, roses, orange and lemon, clove jelly flower, pinks various, wall flower, lavender, and thyme in blossom, sweet brier, bay leaves, marjoram, small myrtle, &c. &c. Keep it close covered two or three months, and on first opening stir it with a stick or wooden spoon. It improves by keeping. 

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